Saturday, March 17, 2012

Capitol Corridor to eliminate an extremely poor train

There are low performing trains and then there are low performing trains. From the Capitol Corridor's draft 2012-2014 business plan:

Operating Plan. The CCJPA recognizes that the under-performing economy has resulted in lower than expected diesel fuel sales tax revenues into the Public Transportation Account (PTA) [the sole source of state operating and capital support]. To maintain its 13-year track record of success, the CCJPA plans to implement a service plan for FY 12-13 that optimizes available resources and meets ridership demand. When the Sacramento Railyards Relocation Project (Phase 1) is completed in May 2012, there will be increased storage capacity for trainsets, which will provide the CCJPA the ability to redeploy the trainsets used in the morning. As a result, the CCJPA will reduce the weekday service levels from 32 trains (16 round trips) to 30 trains (15 round trips) by eliminating a low performing Oakland-to-Sacramento morning train (20 riders per train per weekday vs. 165 system average), and merging two, late weekday evening Sacramento-to-Oakland trains into one trip.

Were there no ridership studies prior to the introduction of this added train which would have shown how poor the ridership was? Even if they were horribly wrong, why was this service permitted to run for at least five years with such extremely poor ridership? Even commuter services, which the Capitol Corridor really is in truth, if not in name, would not offer a train with such poor ridership.

Speaking of the Capitol Corridor as commuter train, however, there is some good transit connectivity news from them. Over the next few years they plan to study the following:
Explore Clipper smart-card fare collection technology or other current best-fit technology of a similar basis on the Capitol Corridor trains provided it can be incorporated into the Amtrak ticketing structure
Continuation and expansion of transit connectivity programs such as the Transit Transfer Program, joint ticketing, and transfer of motorcoach bus routes to parallel local transit services


  1. Great article, i'm excited about the idea of using Clipper on the capitol corridor. Its never great to lose service though, some Bart trains can be empty but nobody complains about that.

  2. That's the train that gets to Sacramento at 6:15 AM with the next option getting in at 7:30. People who need to get to work early in Sacramento will no longer have the train option, but apparently they weren't using it anyway.

    I wish they were re-deploying the staff and equipment to more popular time periods rather than just reducing service. Oakland to San Jose service in particular still has 1:30 minute spacing at rush hour and is getting pretty popular.


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